Barrels come pre-assembled. The Assembly Instructions provide information on setting up and using a barrel.
What Is A Rain Barrel?
A rain barrel collects and stores rainwater from roofs that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains, streams and rivers.
Rain barrels from Upcycle Products are made from recycled food-grade, high density polyethylene plastic that have been thoroughly cleaned and assembled in the USA.
- Barrels have a screw-on top with holes for water entry and aluminum screen to keep out leaves, debris and mosquitoes. The standard installation method is to have a downspout empty directly into the top of the barrel. (Downspout diverters are also available, see below).
- They have a hose shutoff valve to connect a hose or to fill a watering can; an overflow fitting & cap; and a linking fitting & cap to connect additional barrels. For the standard installation, a hose should be connected to the overflow fitting to serve as the overflow once the barrel if full. The hose should be directed away from the foundation of the home or structure where the rain barrel is installed.
- Only one downspout is needed for most applications.
- Barrels come in several sizes and colors for various locations.
- Recommended placement is 12" high using an optional pedestal, cement blocks or other materials.
- Barrels are designed to leave outside all year around.
- Use instructions are provided.
- Rain barrels are made from recycled barrels, so they may have surface blemishes, such as markings, scrapes, scratches, small dents or gouges. These do not affect the operation or use of the rain barrels.
What Are The Advantages of Using A Rain Barrel?
It Saves You Money
A rain barrel can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months which not only protects the environment, but saves you money and energy with decreased demand for treated tap water.
How Much Water Will Your Roof Divert?
- Calculate the square footage of your roof (width x length [floor in feet] = catchment area [square feet])
- Harvested Water (Gal) = Catchment Area (sqft) X Rainfall Depth (inch) X Conversion Factor (0.623)
- For example, let's pretend your square footage is 2,000 sq. ft. (the size of the average Southern California home), and it rains 1 inch.
- 2000 x 1 x 0.623 = 1246 gallons for 1" of rain.
Helps Reduce Stormwater Pollution
Rainwater stored in rain barrels helps reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and the amount of pollutants that are picked up and carried to storm sewers, streams and rivers.
Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. A rain barrel collects and stores water for periods of drought.
Better for Plants and Gardens
Rainwater is naturally soft water, devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals. This makes it ideal for watering gardens, flowers, washing windows and cars.
City of Ann Arbor Stormwater Credits Available for Installing Rain Barrels
The City of Ann Arbor offers credits toward City resident’s stormwater rate bills for reducing the impervious areas of their residential property. Credits are available for:
- Making your home a RiverSafe Home partner
- Installing Rain Barrels on your downspouts
- Creating a Rain Garden, Cistern, or Drywell
Accessories for Rain Barrels
- Automatic Diverter is available for connecting rain barrels to downspouts. Price: $27.00 plus tax. When it rains, some water will flow from the diverter, through the hose to the barrel and some water will also continue to flow down the lower section of the downspout. When the rain barrel is full, then all the water will flow down the downspout. A 55 gal. rain barrel will take about 1 hour to fill with a Diverter installed (15-20 minutes without). Using the Diverter eliminates the need for an overflow hose to be connected to the barrel and routed to an overflow location. Fits downspouts up to 3" X 4", hose included. Installation instructions also provided.
- Linking Hose for connecting multiple barrels together to be filled from one downspout. Price: $8.50 plus tax.
- Pedestal Riser made from 100% recycled lumber. No pressure treated lumber is used. Price: $25.00 plus tax.
See the Common Questions page for more information about rain barrels.
With proper installation, maintenance and use, rain barrels should function properly. The Washtenaw County Conservation District assumes no liability for the installation, maintenance, property damage or injury that may be associated with the use of rain barrels.